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Indeed, unless a man can link his written thoughts with the everlasting wants of men, so that they shall draw from them as from wells, there is no more immortality to the thoughts and feelings of the soul than to the muscles and the bones. HENRY WARD BEECHER—Star Papers. Ox
ford. Bodleian Library. There is probably no hell for authors in the next world—they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.
BOVEE-Summaries of Thought. Authors.
There is no fettering of
authority. All's Well That Ends Well. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 248.
Shall remain! Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you His absolute “shall”?
Coriolanus. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 88. Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar, And the creature run from the cur: There, thou might'st behold the great image of
authority; A dog's obeyed in office.
King Lear. Act IV. Sc. 6. L. 159.
A man of moderate Understanding, thinks he writes divinely: A man of good Understanding, thinks he writes reasonably. LA BRUYÈRE—The Characters or Manners of
the Present Age. Ch. I. A man starts upon a sudden, takes Pen, Ink, and Paper, and without ever having had a thought of it before, resolves within himself he will write, a Book; he has no Talent at Writing, but he wants fifty Guineas, LA BRUYÈRE—The Characters or Manners of the Present Age. Ch. XV.
And so I penned It down, until at last it came to be, For length and breadth, the bigness which you BUNYAN-Pilgrim's Progress. Apology for his
Those he commands, move only in command, Nothing in love: now does he feel his title Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe Upon a dwarfish thief.
Macbeth. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 19.
Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind. BURKE-Reflections on the Revolution in
Thus can the demi-god Authority
But man, proud man,
Measure for Measure. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 117. 10
And though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold.
A Winter's Tale. Act IV. Sc. 4. L. 831.
TENNYSON-Morte d'Arthur. L. 121.
JOURNALISM, PLAGIARISM, PUBLISHERS) 12
The circumstance which gives authors an advantage above all these great masters, is this, that they can multiply their originals; or rather, can make copies of their works, to what number they please, which shall be as valuable as the originals themselves.
ADDISON—The Spectator. No. 166.
And force them, though it was in spite
But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions
But every fool describes, in these bright days,
BYRON—Don Juan. Canto V. St. 52.
15 When I want to read a book I write one. Attributed to BENJ. DISRAELI in a review of
Lothair in Blackwood's Magazine.
The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.
BENJ. DISRAELI—Speech. Nov. 19, 1870.
17 The unhappy man, who once has trail'd a pen, Lives not to please himself, but other men; Is always drudging, wastes his life and blood, Yet only eats and drinks what you think good.
DRYDEN—Prologue to Lee's Cæsar Borgia.
All writing comes by the grace of God, and all doing and having.
EMERSON—Essays. Of Experience.
And hold up to the sun my little taper.
(See also CRABBE, FLETCHER, YOUNG) Dear authors! suit your topics to your strength, And ponder well your subject, and its length; Nor lift your load, before you're quite aware What weight your shoulders will, or will not,
CERVANTES—Don Quixote. V. 16.
That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time.
C.C. COLTON—Lacon. Preface.
COWPER—Retirement. L. 707.
So that the jest is clearly to be seen,
COWPER—Table Talk. L. 540.
For no man can write anything who does not think that what he writes is, for the time, the history of the world.
EMERSON—Essays. Of Nature.
The lover of letters loves power too.
EMERSON—Society and Solitude. Clubs.
The writer, like a priest, must be exempted from secular labor. His work needs a frolic health; he must be at the top of his condition.
EMERSON—Poetry and Imagination. Creation.
22 Like his that lights a candle to the sun. FLETCHER—Letter to Sir Walter Aston.
(See also BYRON)
Oh! rather give me commentators plain,
(See also BYRON)
No gall has ever poisoned my pen.
CRÉBILLON-Discours de Réception.
(See also PLUTARCH, under ARGUMENT) “Gracious heavens!” he cries out, leaping up and catching hold of his hair, “what's this? Print!" DICKENS—Christmas Stories. Somebody's
Luggage. Ch. III. And choose an author as you choose a friend. WENTWORTH DILLON—Essay on Translated
Verse. L. 96.
His [Burke's) imperial fancy has laid all He (Milton) was a Phidias that could cut a nature under tribute, and has collected riches Colossus out of a rock, but could not cut heads from every scene of the creation and every walk out of cherry stones. of art.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, acco
ccording to HANNAH ROBERT HALL-Apology for the Freedom of the MORE. (1781) Press. Sec. IV.
Each change of many-coloured life he drew, Whatever an author puts between the two Exhausted worlds and then imagined new: covers of his book is public property; what Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign, ever of himself he does not put there is his And panting Time toil'd after him in vain. private property, as much as if he had never SAMUEL JOHNSON—Prologue on the Opening written a word.
of the Drury Lane Theatre. Gail HAMILTON-Country Living and Country Thinking. Preface.
The chief glory of every people arises from its 3
authors. Sumite materiam vestris, qui scribitis, æquam SAMUEL JOHNSON-Preface to Dictionary. Viribus.
Ye who write, choose a subject suited to There are two things which I am confident your abilities.
I can do very well; one is an introduction to any HORACE-Ars Poetica. 38.
literary work, stating what it is to contain, and how it should be executed in the most perfect
manner. Tantum series juncturaque pollet. Of so much force are system and connection.
SAMUEL JOHNSON—Boswell's Life of Johnson. HORACE—Ars Poetica. 242.
A man may write at any time if he set himself Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons. doggedly to it.
Knowledge is the foundation and source of SAMUEL JOHNSON—Boswell's Life of Johnson. good writing.
(1773) HORACE–Ars Poetica. 309.
No man but a blockhead ever wrote except Nonumque prematur in annum. Let it (what you have written) be kept back
SAMUEL JOHNSON—Boswell's Life of Johnson. until the ninth year.
(1776) HORACE-Ars Poetica. 388.
Tenet insanabile multo
Scribendi cacoëthes, et ægro in corde senescit. 7
An incurable itch for scribbling takes But every little busy scribbler now
possession of many, and grows inveterate in Swells with the praises which he gives himself; their insane breasts. And, taking sanctuary in the crowd,
JUVENAL—Satires. VII. 51.
CHARLES LAMB-Bon Mots by Charles Lamb
and Douglas Jerrold. Ed. by Walter JerDeferar in vicum vendentem thus et odores,
rold. Et piper, et quicquid chartis amicitur ineptis.
I i.e. my writings) shall be consigned to To write much, and to write rapidly, are that part of the town where they sell empty boasts. The world desires to know incense, and scents, and pepper, and what what you have done, and not how you
did it. ever is wrapped up in worthless paper.
GEORGE HENRY LEWES—The Spanish Drama. HORACE—Epistles. Bk. II. I. 269.
Ch. III. 9 Piger scribendi ferre laborem;
If you once understand an author's character, Scribendi recte, nam ut multum nil moror.
the comprehension of his writings becomes easy. Too indolent to bear the toil of writing;
LONGFELLOW_Hyperion. Bk. I. Ch. V. I mean of writing well; I say nothing about quantity.
Perhaps the greatest lesson which the lives HORACE-Satires. I. 4. 12.
of literary men teach us is told in a single word:
LONGFELLOW_Hyperion. Bk. I. Ch. VIII. Sæpe stilum vertas, iterum quæ digna legi sint Scripturus.
Whatever hath been written shall remain, Often turn the stile (correct with care), if
Nor be erased nor written o'er again; you expect to write anything worthy of being
The unwritten only still belongs to thee: read twice.
Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be. HORACE—Satires. I. 10. 72.
LONGFELLOW-Morituri Salutamus. L. 168. 11
Written with a pen of iron, and with the point | Look, then, into thine heart and write! of a diamond.
LONGFELLOW-Voices of the Night. Prelude. Jeremiah. XVII. 1.
E'en copious Dryden wanted, or forgot,
POPE-Second Book of Horace. Ep. I. L. 280.
19 Whether the darken'd room to muse invite, Or whiten’d wall provoke the skew'r to write; In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint, Like Lee or Budgel I will rhyme and print. POPE-Second Book of Horace. Satire I. L.
You do not publish your own verses, Lælius; you criticise mine. Pray cease to criticise mine, or else publish your own.
MARTIAL-Ěpigrams. Bk. I. Ep. 91. Jack writes severe lampoons on me, 'tis said, But he writes nothing, who is never read.
MARTIAL-Epigrams. Bk. III. Ep. 9.
He who writes distichs, wishes, I suppose, to please by brevity. But, tell me, of what avail is their brevity, when there is a whole book full of them?
MARTIAL-Epigrams. Bk. VIII. Ep. 29. 8
The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.
MOHAMMED-Tribute to Reason.
Let him be kept from paper, pen, and ink;
PRIOR-Epistle to Fleetwood Shepherd.
22 As though I lived to write, and wrote to live.
SAM'L ROGERS—Italy. A Character. L. 16.
To write upon all is an author's sole chance
Præbet mihi littera linguam: Et, si non liceat scribere, mutus ero.
This letter gives me a tongue; and were I not allowed to write, I should be dumb. OVID—Epistolæ Ex Ponto. II. 6. 3.
Ils ont les textes pour eux, mais j'en suis faché pour les textes.
They have the texts on their side, but I pity the texts. ROYER-COLLARD, against the opinions of the Jansenists of Port-Royal on Grace.
“So much the worse for the texts." Phrase attributed to VOLTAIRE.
(See also GALIANI)
Scripta ferunt annos; scriptis Agamemnona nosti, Et quisquis contra vel simul arma tulit.
Writings survive the years; it is by writings that you know Agamemnon, and those who fought for or against him. OVID-Epistolæ Ex Ponto. IV. 8. 51.
Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.
Love's Labour's Lost, Act I. Sc. 2. L. 190.
Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
-Essay on Poetry.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true, But are not critics to their judgment too?
POPE-Essay on Criticism. L. 17.
AUTUMN Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the
woods, And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt, And night by night the monitory blast Wails in the key-hole, telling how it pass'd O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes, Or grim wide wave; and now the power is felt Of melancholy, tenderer in its moods Than any joy indulgent Summer dealt. WILLIAM ALLINGHAM—Day and Night Songs.
Ah, ye knights of the pen! May honour be your shield, and truth tip your lances! Be gentle to all gentle people. Be modest to women. Be tender to children. And as for the Ogre Humbug, out sword, and have at him!
THACKERAY—Roundabout Papers. Ogres.
What the devil does the plot signify, except to bring in fine things?
GEORGE VILLIERS—The Rehearsal. 5
In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.
VOLTAIRE-A Philosophical Dictionary. Poets. But you're our particular author, you're our
patriot and our friend, You're the poet of the cuss-word an' the swear. EDGAR WALLACE— Tommy to his Laureate.
(R. Kipling) So must the writer, whose productions should Take with the vulgar, be of vulgar mould.
EDMUND WALLER-Epistle to Mr. Killegrew.
8 Smooth verse, inspired by no unlettered Muse. WORDSWORTH-Excursion. V. 262 (Knight's
ed.). (See also GRAY)
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
Earth's crammed with heaven,
(See also WHITTIER) Autumn wins you best by this, its mute Appeal to sympathy for its decay.
ROBERT BROWNING—Paracelsus. Sc. 1.
This dull product of a scoffer's pen.
WORDSWORTH-Excursion. Bk. II.
Some write, confin'd by physic; some, by debt;
YOUNG—Epistles to Mr. Pope. Ep. I. L. 75.
11 An author! 'tis a venerable name! How few deserve it, and what numbers claim! Unbless'd with sense above their peers refined, Who shall stand up dictators to mankind? Nay, who dare shine, if not in virtue's cause? That sole proprietor of just applause. YOUNG-Epistles to Mr. Pope. Ep. II. From
Orford. L. 15. 12 For who can write so fast as men run mad?
YOUNG-Love of Fame. Satire I. L. 286.
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and mead
ows brown and sear.
BURNS—Brigs of Ayr. L. 221.
The promised party, to enjoy its sweets.
The pointer ranges, and the sportsman beats In russet jacket;-lynx-like is his aim;
Full grows his bag, and wonderful his feats. Ah, nutbrown partridges! Ah, brilliant pheas
ants! And ah, ye poachers!—'Tis no sport for peasants.
BYRON-Don Juan. Canto XIII. St. 75.
Some future strain, in which the muse shall tell
(See also BYRON) And then, exulting in their taper, cry, “Behold the Sun;" and, Indian-like, adore.
YOUNG/Night Thoughts. Night II.
Yellow, mellow, ripened days,
Sheltered in a golden coating; O'er the dreamy, listless haze,
White and dainty cloudlets floating; Winking at the blushing trees,
And the sombre, furrowed fallow; Smiling at the airy ease,
Of the southward flying swallow.